Cannabis Trade Federation

Federal Lobbying Team


Phil Anderson

Founding Principal and President, Navigators Global

Phil Anderson leads Navigators Global. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mr. Anderson held a series of policy and political positions on Capitol Hill, with the National Republican Party, and with the George H.W. Bush Administration, including serving as Special Assistant to Vice President Dan Quayle and Deputy Assistant to Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater.

Mr. Anderson also has 20 years of experience advising corporations, industries and elected officials on public policy issues and has implemented successful public policy campaigns for over 30 different clients and coalitions. He formed the Financial Services Coordinating Council (FSCC), served as its executive director, and led it to important financial services legislative victories. He also revived an insurance industry building code coalition and – while serving as the coalition’s executive director – branded it as the BuildStrong Coalition, significantly grew its budget and membership, and positioned the group as the “go-to” organization for mitigation and building code policy at the federal level. As executive director of the Puerto Rico Fiscal Stability Coalition, Mr. Anderson has succeeded in re-framing the discussion surrounding the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act of 2015 and garnering conservative support for the bill by positioning it as the free market solution to Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. While leading the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace in its effort to defeat card check, Mr. Anderson successfully shifted the battle between unions and the CDW into a fight about secret ballots and workplace privacy, causing card check to die in the Senate.

Named one of Washington’s top lobbyists by The Hill, Mr. Anderson has also been a frequent media source with commentary appearing in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Journal, and Investment News. He has appeared on CBS 60 Minutes II, CNN, CNBC, FOX NEWS, and ABC. In 2004, Mr. Anderson was selected for the advisory board of George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet.

Mr. Anderson is a graduate of Virginia Tech, where he serves as a guest lecturer on politics and advocacy.


Ryan Berger

Principal, Navigators Global

Ryan Berger served as the Policy Director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He brings a wealth of campaign and policy experience to the Navigators government relations and issues management practices.

While at the NRSC, Mr. Berger helped expand the Republican Senate majority in 2018 under the leadership of Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and other top officials. As Policy Director, Mr. Berger developed policy proposals and educated Senators, candidates, and campaign teams on federal issues and voter communication. 

Mr. Berger has over 15 years of experience on Capitol Hill. He was a member of the Presidential Trump Transition team and served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Senate Republican Conference Vice Chair Joni Ernst (R-IA). Previously, Mr. Berger served as Legislative Director for Senator Bob Corker (R-TN).

Mr. Berger received an M.A. from George Washington University and an undergraduate degree from Ohio University.


Melissa Kuipers Blake

Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Dubbed "The Negotiator" by ColoradoBiz Magazine and a "power lobbyist" by Colorado Politics, Melissa Kuipers Blake is a leading lobbyist and seasoned political strategist with more than 20 years of national political experience at the local, state and federal levels of government. Melissa leads negotiations for her clients between elected officials throughout the country and in Washington, D.C. and is known for her issue knowledge, political strategy development and campaign fundraising prowess. When it comes to behind the scenes negotiations and subject matter expertise, Melissa is second to none. In addition to her national lobbying practice, Melissa also serves as chair of the firm’s Emerging Regulated Industries (ERI) practice group, which assists state and local governments and employers throughout the country as they navigate the complexities of medical and recreational marijuana legalization. Having worked on marijuana issues since day one of legalization in Colorado, Melissa has a foundational perspective on the growth of the industry and its players. She regularly shares that expertise from a statutory, regulatory, compliance and workplace perspective.

At the core of Melissa’s government relations practice is her reputation for integrity, honesty and professionalism. Melissa is a close and trusted confidant to a number of key members of the Colorado Senate and House as well as several statewide elected officials across the country. She can often be found in the     war rooms of multiple campaigns and has helped influence the outcome of many elections through her election advice and successful fundraising strategies.

While Melissa’s influence in the halls of the Colorado Capitol is extensive, she also maintains significant relationships in Washington, D.C., with numerous members of Congress from all parts of the country. Melissa spends a substantial amount of time in Washington, D.C., in addition to her state and local lobbying work in Colorado.

Melissa regularly provides insights to state and local media on a variety of legislative issues and is often    tapped to speak at national conferences to share her political and legislative advice as well as her marijuana regulatory expertise. She is widely recognized by local and national media for her government relations successes, including being named one of the Denver  Business  Journal’s “Top Forty under 40” at the age of  29, being named a Rising Star in 5280 Magazine’s 2014 list of the most powerful people in Denver, being  picked as a Top 25 Young Professional by ColoradoBiz Magazine in 2015 and being selected by her peers as   a Top Lawyer in Government Relations/Lobbying in 5280 Magazine's 2016, 2017 and 2018 Top Lawyer's list                                              

Prior to joining Brownstein, Melissa was the vice president of government relations and communications for    the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, where she represented 270 new franchised auto dealers. Prior to her work with the automobile industry, Melissa served as the legislative director for the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, was a legislative aide in the Florida Senate and worked for several years   in the Florida Legislature for the Rubin Group, based in Tallahassee. Melissa also practiced law for two years   in Miami, Florida, representing P.F. Chang's and The Cheesecake Factory in their employment litigation matters.

In her personal time, Melissa serves as the CEO of Baking for the Troops, a Colorado-based nonprofit which prepares and sends homemade care packages of baked goods to members of the U.S. military deployed throughout the world. Since Melissa founded the organization in 2009, she and her team of volunteers have sent more than 2,000 boxes of cards and baked goods to military personnel in countless regions of the globe, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

Melissa is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Florida and Washington, D.C.


Nadeam A. Elshami

Policy Director, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck 

A formidable voice in the most important policy debates of the last decade, Nadeam Elshami leverages his insights on policy, politics, communications and navigating Washington in crafting legislative solutions for his clients.

Formerly chief of staff for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), his 25-year career on the Hill is punctuated by a collection of achievements fueled by his expertise in negotiating policy on behalf of Democratic leadership and in forming the bipartisan relationships that helped move key pieces of legislation through a gridlocked Congress. During his time with Leader Pelosi, Nadeam oversaw every aspect of policy, communications, operations and member relations. He previously served as her communications director and senior advisor working on messaging around the successful passage of the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and other historic legislation. 

Prior to joining Brownstein, Nadeam was an executive vice president at a D.C.-based public affairs firm. He was named a spring 2018 fellow at the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, is included in Politico’s Playbook Power List of the 30 most powerful people and groups in Trump’s Washington and is a regular CNN contributor.


Darin Gardner

Partner, Jochum, Shore & Trossevin

Darin Gardner is a Partner at Jochum Shore & Trossevin, PC. Mr. Gardner advises clients on many issues including pharmaceuticals/biologics, early drug development, device, diagnostics and medical technology development, biosecurity, government procurement and stockpiling, telecom, infrastructure and technology, transportation, health care, defense, foreign relations and virtually all appropriations-related issues. In addition, Mr. Gardner utilizes his in-depth knowledge from almost 20 years of experience including working as a top staffer in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, leading the lobbying team for Roche and later Genentech for almost a decade and now working on numerous issues for clients at Jochum Shore & Trossevin.

Mr. Gardner began his career in politics and policy in 2000 working for Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-AR), first on his personal staff, and later as a member of his committee staff on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. From 2002-2005, Darin worked for Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) on issues ranging from health care, taxes, labor, education and appropriations issues as her Legislative Director.

In 2005, Mr. Gardner was hired by Roche (known now as “Genentech, a Member of the Roche Group” in the United States) as an Assistant Director for Federal Government Affairs and was later promoted to Director. Darin was responsible for managing a wide range of issues including: the procurement, stockpiling and distribution of medical countermeasures through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Centers for Disease Control’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), accessibility of Hepatitis C treatments for patients utilizing State ADAP programs, immunosuppressive drug coverage, as well as general issues such as re-importation of pharmaceuticals, reimbursement and patent-related issues.

Following the Roche-Genentech integration in 2009, Mr. Gardner was promoted again to Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs for Genentech responsible for leading the federal lobbying team for the combined company. From 2010-2014, Darin and his team worked on many company-specific and industry-wide issues in including FDA-related issues, the 340B drug discounting program, continued collaboration with BARDA and the SNS on preparedness issues, and corporate tax issues. In June of 2014, Mr. Gardner joined Jochum Shore & Trossevin. A little over a year later in August of 2015, Mr. Gardner took a two-month leave to return to Congresswoman Granger as her Chief of Staff on a temporary basis before returning to Jochum Shore & Trossevin in October 2015.

Mr. Gardner attended and played varsity baseball at Ouachita Baptist University until 1992. After studying abroad at Yantai University in China, Darin continued his studies, obtained his Private Pilot license in 1994 and graduated from Henderson State University in 1995 with a BA in Political Science. Darin is married to Jane Gardner and has a 10-year old son named Grant Gardner. The Gardner family resides in Glenarden, MD.


James Jochum

Partner, Jochum, Shore & Trossevin

Jim Jochum, Partner with Jochum Shore & Trossevin PC (JST), co-founded the highly-regarded, boutique law firm in 2007. JST uniquely combines years of legal experience, the perspective of former high-level government decision makers and deep relationships with current policymakers in the executive branch agencies and on Capitol Hill. While maintaining a small firm approach to customer service, JST has represented Fortune 500 companies, such as Target, Accenture, The Home Depot, Genentech and Whirlpool, as well as a wide range of relatively new companies with disruptive technology or business models, such as Snapchat, Lyft, Spotlight Innovation, Redbox and Elio Motors.

For more than 20 years, Jim has worked in and lobbied before the U.S. Congress and Administration, and has worked closely with Members of Congress and Senators to design and execute effective political strategies. A hands-on leader, he has been involved in lobbying initiatives, political campaigns and various legal challenges in the U.S. and in a number of international markets. He regularly assembles teams of lobbyists, policymakers, lawyers, public relations specialists and other professionals to collaborate, secure opportunities, solve problems, manage adversarial situations and achieve positive results for clients and coalitions.

Several of Jim’s representations illustrate the trust that clients and coalitions have placed in his firm’s ability to influence Republican thinking and legislation on a wide range of policy issues. He has helped successfully design and implement the lobbying strategy for several high-profile technology clients to stop passage of legislation that would place new, burdensome regulations on the Internet. Jim and his team led a broad-based effort comprised of dozens of companies and public interest groups to reform the nation’s privacy laws. The firm also has been retained by a coalition of progressive groups to form a new association to lobby Republicans on the open internet.

Jim has extensive experience in the international arena, guiding a wide range of multinational clients through the U.S. political and regulatory process. Clients retain Jim for his expertise and judgment on complex matters, such as trade remedy litigation, policy development and advocacy on U.S. export controls and sanctions, the negotiation and implementation of international trade agreements and national security (CFIUS) matters.

Prior to entering private practice, Jim enjoyed a distinguished public sector career in which he served in senior positions in both the Bush Administration and on Capitol Hill. Jim was appointed by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to two senior trade positions, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration. As Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration, Jim led the agency responsible for implementing U.S. trade remedy laws, including antidumping, countervailing duty and safeguards. In the policy area, Jim led two important working groups on China trade, and was the lead U.S. delegate to the OECD steel negotiations and WTO Rules negotiations. At Export Administration, he was responsible for leading the agency charged with implementing the U.S. dual use export control laws.

Jim also has experience as a Senior Congressional staff member for two U.S. senators. For five years, he served as International Trade Counsel and Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Jim served as the lead international trade counsel on the Senate Banking Committee, under the chairmanship of Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX). Additionally, he has significant private sector experience. Jim was a partner in the law firm Mayer Brown, and was employed in the Washington, D.C. office of Accenture as an in-house lobbyist on international trade and tax issues.

Jim is a recognized thought leader on issues that intersect international economics and national security. He is a published author and currently serves as adjunct professor at both Georgetown University and American University. A graduate of the University of Iowa School of Law, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa. James is a member of the District of Columbia and Wisconsin Bars.

He and his wife, Rita, live with their daughter in Oakton, Virginia.


Drew C. Littman

Policy Director, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck 

Government relations and communications strategist Drew Littman brings a long history of working in both the private and public sectors to the firm’s Washington, D.C., government relations team. Drew counsels clients in the health care, biotechnology, media, financial services and engineering fields. He has worked with numerous federal agencies and committees with a focus on progressive Senate Democrats.

After five years in the private sector, working as a principal at Venn Strategies and vice president of government relations at biotech company Solazyme, Inc., Drew returned to federal service in May 2016 as senior counselor to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who served as the 22nd United States secretary of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama.

From 2009­2011, Drew served as Sen. Al Franken’s (D­MN) chief of staff where he led a staff of more than    30 and spearheaded all legislative, policy and press initiatives. He spent the first eight years of his career in   the office of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), four of those years as a policy director. Drew has been extensively involved in helping newly elected Democrats make the transition to the U.S. Senate, and in advising senators and senior staff on an ongoing basis.

He also worked as a principal at Podesta Associates and founded his own public affairs firm, Littman Associates.


Tim Lynch

Principal, The Raben Group

Tim Lynch is a government affairs expert who brings more than 15 years of experience working with federal officials at the highest levels of government.  His background as a senior Congressional staffer, former federal prosecutor, and litigator have helped shape expertise in developing and advancing public policy goals for private, public, and nonprofit stakeholders.

Tim joined The Raben Group after serving as Deputy General Counsel to the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland).  In that role, he assisted Ranking Member Cummings and other Committee Members in conducting oversight and investigations of both federal agencies and private sector companies.  During his time on the Committee, Tim played significant roles in advising Members on some of the most pressing IT challenges the country is facing today, including, cybersecurity, privacy, and artificial intelligence.  Tim successfully led and managed the team responsible for investigating the cyberattack and data breach at the Office of Personnel Management, one of the largest breaches in U.S. Government history.  He also oversaw and developed policies and recommendations for improving IT security in the public and private sector. 

Prior to his work in Congress, Tim served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.  His experience as a federal prosecutor in one of the nation’s premier litigation offices honed his skills in crisis communications and management, advising senior management, advocating agency positions, and implementing policies.  Among his successes as a prosecutor was his work in obtaining the New York Mets’ compliance with the Americans with Disability Act in the construction of Citi Field stadium. 

Earlier in his career, Tim was a litigation associate at Paul Hastings LLP in New York.  He earned a law degree from Hofstra University, and a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in political science from Seton Hall University.


William E. Moschella

Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck 

Will Moschella has extensive Executive and Legislative Branch experience. As a Senior Justice Department official and Congressional Staff Counsel, he was involved in numerous high-profile legislative battles. He brings that experience to bear on behalf of his clients with complex policy and political problems.

On behalf of his clients, Will has testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee and acted as the spokesperson for an association whose members were the subject of an investigative report by a major television news network. During Will’s prestigious career, he has worked closely with business coalitions to create solutions for overcoming legislative gridlock. He counsels clients on a range of matters, including financial services, legal reform, intellectual property and criminal law.

As Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice, Will was the principal legal and policy advisor to the Deputy Attorney General and provided advice on a range of issues including the Department's role in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a range of law enforcement and   national security matters, and the general administration of the Department. Will was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May 2003 to the position of Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legislative Affairs where he served until September 2006. In this role, Will formulated and executed strategy for the Department's   legislative initiatives on Capitol Hill. His responsibilities included testifying, preparing witnesses, including the Attorney General, to testify before congressional committees, responding to congressional requests for information and documents, and guiding the President's Justice Department nominees through the   confirmation process. His accomplishments include steering numerous administration priorities through the U.S. Congress, including the USA PATRTIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, Title VI of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act and ratification of several law enforcement and national security related treaties. He also served as a member of the Attorney General's Task Force on Intellectual Property.

Prior to his service at the U.S. Department of Justice, Will served as the chief legislative counsel and parliamentarian to the House Committee on the Judiciary, general counsel of the House Committee on Rules, and counsel to the House Committee on Government Reform. While at the Judiciary Committee, he served a key role in the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act and worked on numerous other important bills, including historic bankruptcy and class action litigation reform.


Susan Nelson

Principal, Navigators Global

Susan Nelson has substantial political and legislative expertise, as well as extensive experience working on behalf of corporate clients on business and public policy issues. Before joining Navigators Global, Ms. Nelson was a principal at Gray Loeffler, LLC. She has also held senior positions at other notable public affairs firms, including The Federalist Group and Berman Enterprises, where she served as senior vice president of State Government Affairs. 

Ms. Nelson brings extensive state and campaign experience to the firm. Most recently she took a sabbatical from the private sector to serve as the national finance director for John McCain 2008, overseeing the entire finance organization for the presidential campaign throughout the primary and general election.

Ms. Nelson served as the finance director of the Republican Governors Association, where she was responsible during the 2002 election cycle for overseeing 36 gubernatorial races and raising party funds for them. Her leadership led to record fundraising numbers and victories in the great majority of the races. Before joining the RGA, Ms. Nelson co-owned and operated Eudy Nelson & Associates, a highly regarded Washington, D.C.-based political fundraising company. She also served as national and Political Action Committee consultant to numerous U.S. Senators and campaigns.


Robert Raben

President & Founder, The Raben Group

Robert Raben, and the seventy or so people who have joined him in the unique public policy firm he created in 2002, works to drive public policy in a humane and sensible direction; to bring diversity and equity to the boardrooms and think tanks and corporations of America; to create a fair judiciary and to influence legislation that will broaden civil rights, reform our criminal justice system, and improve education for all our children.

Nearly 30 years of professional experience as an attorney, senior Hill staffer, and Assistant Attorney General have given Robert a nuanced understanding of both the legal subtleties and the political realities of the issues he handles. In addition, he brings an aggressively bipartisan approach to the firm, built during a highly respected legislative career that began on Representative Barney Frank's staff and concluded with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde's endorsement of his Justice Department appointment.

Robert served as counsel to Congressman Barney Frank, Democratic counsel for two Subcommittees of the House Judiciary Committee; first on the Constitution, then on the Courts and Intellectual Property.

In 1999, Robert's reputation and effectiveness caught the attention of the White House, earning him an appointment as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and, subsequently, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs. After a unanimous confirmation vote by a Republican-controlled Senate, Robert was charged with overseeing Attorney General Janet Reno's legislative initiatives and handling extensive Congressional oversight of the department.

Since 2002 he has run The Raben Group. He serves on the Boards of The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and former President Barack Obama’s My Brothers’ Keeper Alliance. Past Board Service includes the American Constitution Society, Alliance for Justice, and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project

He is a serial NGO entrepreneur, having formed the Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary, the Friends of the Museum of the American Latino, Green 2.0, Committee for a Fair Judiciary, the March on Washington Film Festival, and the Pasos Graduation ceremony for Latino law students.

Robert is a native of Miami, and a graduate of the Wharton School and the New York University Law School.


Andrew Shore

Partner, Jochum, Shore & Trossevin

Andrew Shore is a founding partner of Jochum Shore & Trossevin. Previously, he was a Partner in the Washington, DC office of Mayer Brown LLP. As the Chief of Staff for the House Republican Conference, Mr. Shore was one of the senior advisors to the Congressional Leadership, a position that earned him accolades on the Hill and has led to regular quotes and appearances in the media since moving to the private sector.

He has parlayed his experience as the Policy and Coalitions Director at the House Republican Conference into having a hand in several major private sector coalitions. Mr. Shore built and leads the Owners’ Rights Initiative which is a coalition of Internet resale platforms, libraries, retailers and others defending against control by copyright holders on downstream sales. He is one of the main advisors to the Digital Fourth Coalition seeking to ensure personal privacy for electronic communications against unwarranted government intrusion. He was the chief legislative strategist for NetCoalition in the campaign to defeat the so-called SOPA and PIPA Internet regulation bills. There he helped a small group of tech companies wage a political campaign against the massively funded movie, music and luxury goods manufacturers.

Mr. Shore has extensive experience in the international space having guided a wide array of multinational clients through the political process. He and his partners led the preeminent coalition of US tire importers and distributors in opposition to tariffs on their products coming in from China. Additionally, he has advocated vigorously on behalf of the Antiguan gaming industry for a resolution of their governments World Trade Organization dispute with the United States on market access for gambling services. He works with Congress on behalf of several Fortune 500 companies to promote access to goods and services in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, monitoring and reviewing the implementation of trade and tax treaties and promoting new opportunities for bringing foreign goods to the US market. His public sector experience includes serving as Legislative Director to the Chairman of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee and advising the House Leadership on trade matters as Policy Director for the House Republican Conference. He has traveled and lectured in Serbia on behalf of the International Republican Institute assisting political operatives and elected officials in the development of communications and grassroots tools.

Health policy is the area Mr. Shore has spent the longest portion of his career working in. Since his time as the senior legislative assistant to former Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer, Mr. Shore has been involved in nearly every major health care debate. He was the staff architect of Medical (now Health) Savings Accounts, advised a working group on what became the Health Insurance Portability Act, and engaged on numerous regulatory and payment policy issues before the federal agencies. In the private sector he has worked in-house as an advocate for the American Medical Association and has represented biotechnology companies, physician groups and employers on health policy issues before Congress.

He is a graduate of the George Mason University School of Law, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas. He is a member of the District of Columbia, Supreme Court and Court of International Trade Bar’s. Mr. Shore is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the National Zoo. He was recognized as a top Congressional staffer by Roll Call and The Hill. During a brief hiatus from politics, he launched the tech startup A native of Glencoe, Illinois, and an honorary Texan, he currently resides in Arlington, Virginia.


Eduardo Soto

Director, The Raben Group

At Raben, Eduardo Soto advises corporate and nonprofit clients on lobbying and advocacy strategies, including congressional relations, regulatory procedures, outreach to third party organizations, and coalition management. He finds the right message for campaigns and thinks of creative ways to deliver it to the intended audience.

Through his work on behalf Wounded Warrior Project and partners, he helped to secure access to reproductive health care assistance, including in vitro fertilization, for critically wounded veterans unable to start a family on their own. Working closely with a coalition of dozens of organizations, he helped coordinate a civil rights push to extend a crucial discount for broadband access to eligible low-income households across the country. 

In Congress, he worked with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) to strengthen and reintroduce a repeal of mandatory minimum sentences. He also coordinated a delegation visit from students affected by closures at a higher education institution who were seeking relief from crushing student loan debt. The Department of Education eventually extended to these and other students the ability to avoid repayment of certain loans.

Eduardo holds a B.A. in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government from American University and a J.D. from the George Mason University School of Law.


Darrel Thompson

Partner, theGROUP

As a Partner with theGROUP, Darrel Thompson advises and assists major corporations, trade associations and sovereign nations in achieving their business, policy, political and social objectives.

Thompson is a 25-year veteran of legislative/electoral politics and strategic consulting and has operated at the highest levels of government and business. Prior to joining theGROUP, Thompson served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Intergovernmental and External Affairs to former Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. In this role, he advised the Majority Leader on labor and employment issues including workplace rules and regulations, business and labor negotiations, job growth and protection, social justice issues involving religious and African-American communities, and issues before the Senate that affect the District of Columbia.

Thompson’s unique position with Majority Leader Reid placed him at the forefront of numerous debates and issues involving transportation, renewable energy, healthcare, education, gender equality, housing and economic development. Equally important, this position placed Thompson in direct communication with Senators and Representatives; top Administration officials; CEOs; and the presidents of labor unions, trade associations and advocacy organizations.

Before joining Senator Reid, Thompson served as the Chief of Staff for the Barack Obama for U.S. Senate campaign where he directly advised then-State Senator Barack Obama, co-directed day to day state-wide operations of a 52-person campaign staff, and exercised planning and oversight of political and fundraising operations. He also served as the Finance Chief of Staff and National Political Advisor for Congressman Richard Gephardt’s 2004 presidential campaign. Additionally, he served in several senior positions over a five-year period during Mr. Gephardt’s tenure as House Democratic Leader. Darrel was also the Deputy Executive Director of the House Democratic Caucus. 

Prior to his official congressional service, Thompson was the Financial Services Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), where he was responsible for all political fundraising operations. During his three-year tenure at the DCCC, he consulted for over 100 congressional campaigns on fundraising, campaign operations and voter turnout. He has also managed and served as senior staff on legislative, congressional and gubernatorial campaigns.

Active in his community, Thompson serves as Commissioner and Manager of the Capitol Hill Little League Juniors Division and Tournament Team. In 2014, he ran for the District Council in Ward 6. Born in Washington, D.C., Thompson claims both D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, as home. He holds a Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Political Science from Morgan State University.


Brian Wild

Policy Director, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Brian Wild advances business issues on behalf of his clients by drawing on his two decades of experience in Washington D.C., including service in the White House, the United States Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the private sector. A highly regarded Republican advisor, Brian represents a broad range of businesses and trade associations. He coordinates and manages extensive public affairs campaigns and provides policy advisory and strategy on energy, tax, labor, transportation and health care issues.

As the senior advisor to the Speaker of the House John Boehner, Brian was responsible for coordinating     policy and communications among leadership offices including directing the year-long America Speaking Out campaign that ultimately resulted in the creation of the Republican agenda for the 111th Congress known as   the Pledge to America. In addition to working closely with Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy and the chairmen and staff directors of all the House committees, Brian led the policy orientation of 87 newly elected Republican members of the House.

Brian’s service in the White House includes working as deputy assistant for legislative affairs to Vice   President Dick Cheney, where he acted as congressional liaison to the vice president, providing strategic counsel and insight on Congress. Prior to his work in the executive branch, Brian served as chief of staff and legislative director to Congressman Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania. Brian also spent five years representing the business community as a lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and as executive director of the Chamber’s Office of Advocacy and Grassroots Programs.

A Colorado native, Brian began his career on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to Senator Hank Brown of Colorado, where he was responsible for staffing the senator on the Budget Committee and managed the Republican Leadership Task Force on Discretionary Spending, which was instrumental in achieving a balanced budget for the first time in over 20years.